I bookmarked this article called “15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years” in the Huffington Post awhile back, mostly to share with my married friends, but I’ve consistently cited it as one of the best little collections of relationship advice. I thought I’d share it and a few of my favorite parts with the hive:
Be proud and brag.
Let your spouse hear you talking about them in glowing terms to other people. Be foolish. Be obvious. It will mean everything.
I can attest to the power of this one. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to overhear Wolfman telling his friends about something I did or a joke I told. It seems silly, but those moments stay with me longer than a direct compliment, and I’ve consciously tried to do the same for Wolfman.
Laugh if you can.
In any fight, there is one person who is really mad, and one person who isn’t that mad. That person should deflect the fight. Make a joke, do something stupid or corny, make the other person laugh. If the fight is very serious for you and you feel like you really want to plant your flag and die on this hill, fine. Do it. But if you’re fighting for entertainment, or because you’re just reacting, then you be the one to deflect…When you’re the one who’s being pissy and raw and the other person helps you get out of it and brings about peace, that feels fantastic.
Oh man, this. One of my favorite things about Wolfman is his ability to make me laugh, but it’s so easy to forget that when you’re fighting. Learning when to let him deflect a fight, or when I can, has been really helpful. It’s hard for me to swallow my pride and admit I’m wrong in many instances, but I’ve realized that going for a laugh doesn’t mean I’m losing a fight—because, of course, most of our fights are silly and it’s such a reward to end a fight with a good laughing fit.
Live in different houses. In different parts of the country. Travel. Make it so that you can look back and divide up your life into the years you spent in different cities, or different houses. If you’re feeling stuck geographically or physically, you can confuse yourself into thinking you’re stuck romantically. See your husband in different places, in different contexts, in different countries even. Try it. Take him to a mountaintop and give him another look. Pretty sexy. Take him to a new city and check out his profile. Along the same lines, don’t be afraid to change personally, or let your wife change as a person. Don’t worry about “growing apart.” Be brave and evolve. Become completely different. Don’t gather moss. Stagnation is unattractive.
I LOVE this one. I realize this might not be possible for everyone in the physical sense, but I agree with it in other ways too—it’s so fun to try different things, meet people, or learn new skills and watch Wolfman in these different contexts. I think it’s important to realize that your relationship doesn’t exist in a vacuum and to see what it’s like in different situations.
All the crap you read in magazines about honesty, sense of humor, communication, sensitivity, date nights, couples weekends, blah blah blah can be trumped by one word: loyalty. You and your spouse are a team of two. It is you against the world. No one else is allowed on the team, and no one else will ever understand the team’s rules. This is okay. The team is not adversarial, the team does not tear its members down, the team does not sabotage the team’s success. Teammates work constantly to help and better their teammates…Loyalty means subverting your whims or desires of the moment to better meet your spouse’s whims or desires, with the full understanding and expectation that they will be doing the same. This is the heart of everything, and it is a tricky balance…Ups and downs ultimately don’t matter, because the team endures.
This is the best relationship advice I’ve ever read. In previous relationships, I’ve been really conscious that I was one half of a couple of individuals who just generally got along pretty well. With Wolfman, I definitely have that, but have had a serious mind shift when it comes to “us” as a singular unit. Sometimes we verbally remind each other that we’re on the same team, fighting the same fight, working towards the same things. When I can sense that one of us is getting frustrated with something, I’ll just say “Team Gray Wolf!” as a quick rally cry. Sorta cheesy, but usually it works—or at least reminds us that our little argument over who is taking out the garbage is insignificant.
What do you think of the article? Anything you disagree with? What’s the best advice for a happy relationship that you’ve ever gotten?